Joan Chen

Joan Chen

Born: April 26, 1961
Age: 57
Birthplace: Shanghai, China
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Biography

Joan Chen (born April 26, 1961) is a Chinese American actress, film director, screenwriter, and film producer. In China she performed in the 1979 film Little Flower ("小花") and came to attention for her performance in the 1987 film The Last Emperor. She is also known for her roles in Twin Peaks, Red Rose, White Rose, Saving Face, and The Home Song Stories, and for directing the feature film Xiu Xiu: The Sent Down Girl.

Chen was born in Shanghai, to a family of pharmacologists.[1] She and her older brother, Chase, were raised during the Cultural Revolution. At the age of 14, Chen was discovered on the school rifle range by Jiang Qing, the wife of leader Mao Zedong and major Chinese Communist Party figure, as she was excelling at marksmanship. This led to her being selected for the Actors' Training Program by the Shanghai Film Studio in 1975, where she was discovered by veteran director Xie Jin who chose her to star in his 1977 film Youth (Chinese: 青春; pinyin: Qīngchūn)[2] as a deaf mute whose senses are restored by an Army medical team. Chen graduated from high school a year in advance, and at the age of 17 entered the prestigious Shanghai International Studies University, where she majored in English.[3]

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Career

Chen in fantasy makeup for the 1985 film Dim Sum: A Little Bit of Heart

Chen performed alongside Tang Guoqiang in Zhang Zheng's (Chinese: 张铮) Little Flower (Chinese: 小花; pinyin: Xiǎo Huā) in 1979, for which she won the Hundred Flowers Award (Chinese: 百花奖; pinyin: Bǎi Huā Jiǎng). Chen portrayed a pre-Maoist revolutionary's daughter, who, reunited with her brother, a wounded Communist soldier, later learned that his doctor was her biological mother. Little Flower was her second film and she soon achieved the status of China's most loved actress; she was dubbed "the Elizabeth Taylor of China" by Time magazine for having achieved stardom while still a teenager.[2]

In addition, Chen was in the 1979 film Hearts for the Motherland (Chinese: 海外赤子; pinyin: Hǎiwài Chìzǐ). The film directed by Ou Fan (Chinese: 欧凡) and Xing Jitian (Chinese: 邢吉田) depicts an overseas Chinese family that returns to China from southeast Asia out of their patriotic feelings but encounter political troubles during the Cultural Revolution. The songs, "I Love You, China" (Chinese: 我爱你中国) and "High Flies the Petrel" (Chinese: 高飞的海燕), sung by Chen's character, are perennial favorites in China. In 1981, Chen starred in Awakening (Chinese: 甦醒; pinyin: Sūxǐng), directed by Teng Wenji (Chinese: 滕文骥).

At age 20, Chen moved to the United States, where she studied filmmaking at California State University, Northridge.

Her first Hollywood movie was Tai-Pan, filmed on location in China. In 1985 she appeared in the show 'Miami Vice' as May Ying, former wife of Martin "Marty" Castillo and husband to Ma Sek in the episode "Golden Triangle (Part II)". She went on to star in Bernardo Bertolucci's The Last Emperor in 1987 and the David Lynch/Mark Frost television series Twin Peaks as Josie Packard. She starred alongside Rutger Hauer in 1989's The Blood of Heroes, written and directed by David Webb Peoples. In 1993 she co-starred in Oliver Stone's Heaven & Earth. She portrayed two different characters in Clara Law's Temptation of a Monk (Chinese: 誘僧; pinyin: Yòu Sēng): a seductive princess of Tang dynasty, and a dangerous temptress. She shaved her head on-screen for the role. The award-winning film was adapted from a novel by Lilian Lee.

In 1994 she co-starred with Steven Seagal in the action-adventure On Deadly Ground; she returned to Shanghai to star in Stanley Kwan's Red Rose, White Rose (Chinese: 紅玫瑰白玫瑰; pinyin: Hóng Méigui Bái Méigui) opposite Winston Chao, and subsequently won a Golden Horse Award and a Hong Kong Film Critics Society Award for her performance. In 1996, she was a member of the jury at the 46th Berlin International Film Festival.[4]

Tired of being cast as an exotic beauty in Hollywood films, Chen moved into directing in 1998 with the critically acclaimed Xiu Xiu: The Sent Down Girl (Chinese: 天浴; pinyin: Tiān Yù), adapted from the novella Heavenly Bath (Chinese: 天浴; pinyin: Tiān Yù) by her friend Yan Geling. She later directed Autumn in New York, starring Richard Gere and Winona Ryder, in 2000.

In the middle of the 2000s, Chen made a comeback in acting and began to work intensely, alternating between English and Chinese-language roles.

In 2004, she starred in Hou Yong's family saga Jasmine Women (Chinese: 茉莉花开; pinyin: Mòlìhuā Kāi), alongside Zhang Ziyi, in which they played multiple roles as daughters and mothers across three generations in Shanghai. She also starred in the Asian American comedy Saving Face as a widowed mother, who is shunned by the Chinese-American community for being pregnant and unwed and has come to live with her lesbian daughter.

In 2005, she appeared in Zhang Yang's family saga Sunflower (Chinese: 向日葵; pinyin: Xiàngrìkuí), as a mother whose husband and son have a troubled father-son relationship over 30 years. She starred in the Asian American independent film Americanese and in Michael Almereyda's Tonight at Noon, the first part of a two part project, scheduled to be released in 2009.[5]

In 2007, Chen was acclaimed for her performance in Tony Ayres' drama The Home Song Stories. She portrayed a glamorous and unstable Chinese nightclub singer who struggles to survive in seventies Australia with her two children. The role earned her four awards including the Australian Film Institute Award for Best Actress and the Golden Horse Award for Best Actress. The same year saw her co-starring in two other acclaimed films: Ang Lee's Lust, Caution, opposite Tony Leung Chiu-Wai, and Jiang Wen's The Sun Also Rises, opposite Anthony Wong Chau-Sang, for which she received an Asian Film Award for Best Supporting Actress.

In 2008, she starred alongside Sam Chow (Chinese: 邹爽) in Shi Qi (Chinese: 十七; pinyin: Shíqī), directed by Joe Chow (Chinese: 姬诚; pinyin: Jī Chéng), as a rural mother of a 17-year-old in eastern Zhejiang province.[6][7] The same year Joan Chen portrayed in Jia Zhangke's 24 City a factory worker once fancied because she resembled Chen herself in the 1979 film Little Flower, but who missed her chance at love.

She co-starred in Bruce Beresford's 2009 adaptation of the autobiography of dancer Li Cunxin Mao's Last Dancer, along with Wang Shungbao and Kyle MacLachlan.[8]

In 2009, Chen starred alongside Feng Yuanzheng (Chinese: 冯远征) and Liu Jinshan (Chinese: 刘金山) in the Chinese TV series Newcomers to the Middle-Aged (Chinese: 人到中年), directed by Dou Qi (Chinese: 斗琪), in which she played a female doctor facing middle-age problems.[9] She also played the part of goddess Guan Yin in the 2010 Chinese TV adaptation of Journey to the West, directed by Cheng Lidong (Chinese: 程力栋).[10]

In October 2009 Joan Chen was the curator of the first Singapore Sun Film Festival, whose theme was "The Art of Living Well". She selected and curated five films for screening during the festival: The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Dead Man Walking, Hannah and Her Sisters, Still Life (Chinese: 三峡好人; pinyin: Sānxiá hǎorén) and Edward Scissorhands.[11][12]

In 2010, Chen joined the cast of Leehom Wang's directorial debut Lian ai tong gao (Chinese: 恋爱通告; pinyin: Liàn ài tōng gào).,[13] Alexi Tan's Color Me Love (alongside Liu Ye),[14] Ilkka Järvilaturi's Kiss, His First (alongside Tony Leung Ka-fai and Gwei Lun-mei)[15] and veteran acting coach Larry Moss' Relative Insanity (along with Juliette Binoche). In May 2010, she was set to star and direct one of the three parts of the anthology film Seeing Red.[16][17]

In 2011, she played Secretary Bishop's girlfriend on the television series Fringe episode "Immortality".[citation needed] Chen was cast as the Yuan empress Chabi in the 2014 American television series Marco Polo. Being somewhat unfamiliar with the Mongols, Chen read The Secret History of the Mongol Queens in order to prepare for the role.[18]

Personal life

Chen was formerly married to actor Jimmy Lau from 1985 to 1990. Chen married her second husband, cardiologist Peter Hui, on January 18, 1992. They have two daughters.[19] They live in San Francisco, California.

During her early years in California, Chen attended California State University, Northridge. In 1989, she became a naturalized citizen of the United States. On April 9, 2008, Chen wrote an article entitled "Let the Games Go On" for the Washington Post objecting to the politicization of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.[20]

Charitable work

In May 2008, Chen appeared alongside James Kyson Lee, Silas Flensted, and Amy Hanaialiʻi Gilliom in a public service announcement for the Banyan Tree Project campaign to stop HIV/AIDS-related stigma in Asian & Pacific Islander communities.[21][22]

In October 2008, Chen made the cover of Trends Health magazine alongside actresses Ke Lan (Chinese: 柯蓝) and Ma Yili (Chinese: 马伊琍) to promote the Chinese Pink Ribbon Breast Cancer Prevention campaign.

On January 8, 2010, Chen attended, alongside Nancy Pelosi, Nicole Kidman, and Joe Torre, the ceremony to help Family Violence Prevention Fund break ground on a new center located in the Presidio of San Francisco intended to combat violence against women and children. During the ceremony, Chen performed an excerpt from the documentary play The Thumbprint of Mukhtar Mai (presented as part of "Seven").[23][24][25]

On January 15, 2010, Chen was set to appear, along with other Asian American personalities, in a series of videos supporting the Center for the Pacific Asian Family.[26]

Filmography

Actress

Film
Year Title Role Notes
1977 Youth
青春
Shen Yamei / 沈亞妹
1979 Little Flower
小花
Zhao Xiaohua / 赵小花 Hundred Flowers Award for Best Actress
Yugoslavia Film Festival Award for Best Actress
1979 Hearts for the Motherland
海外赤子
Huang Sihua / 黃思華 aka Overseas Compatriots, A Loyal Overseas Chinese Family
1981 Awakening
甦醒
Su Xiaomei / 蘇小梅
1986 Goodbye My Love
惡男
Ling Ti
1986 Tai-Pan May-May
1987 The Night Stalker Mai Wing
1987 The Last Emperor Wan Jung / 婉容
1989 The Blood of Heroes Kidda
1991 Wedlock Noelle
1992 Turtle Beach Minou
1992 Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me Jocelyn 'Josie' Packard

scenes deleted

1993 Heaven & Earth Mama
1993 Temptation of a Monk
誘僧
Princess Hong'e (Scarlet) / 公主紅萼
Lady Qingshou (Violet) / 青绶夫人
1994 Golden Gate Marilyn
1994 Red Rose White Rose
紅玫瑰,白玫瑰
Wang Jiao-Rui / 王嬌蕊 Golden Horse Award for Best Actress
HKFCS Award for Best Actress
Nominated — HKFA for Best Actress
1994 On Deadly Ground Masu
1995 The Hunted Kirina
1995 Wild Side Virginia Chow
1995 Judge Dredd Ilsa Hayden
1996 Precious Find Camilla Jones
1999 Purple Storm
紫雨風暴
Shirley Kwan
2000 What's Cooking? Trinh Nguyen
2004 Avatar Madame Ong
2004 Jasmine Women
茉莉花开
Mo's Mother / 茉的母亲
Mo / 茉
2004 Saving Face Hwei-Lan Gao
2005 Sunflower
向日葵
Xiuqing / 秀清
2006 Americanese Betty Nguyen
2007 The Home Song Stories
Rose Hong / 洪玫瑰 Golden Horse Award for Best Actress
IF Award for Best Actress
TFF Award for Best Actress
AFI Award for Best Actress
FCCA Award for Best Actress
Nominated — AF Award for Best Actress
Nominated — APS Award for Best Actress
2007 The Sun Also Rises
太阳照常升起
Dr. Lin / 林大夫 AF Award for Best Supporting Actress
2007 All God's Children Can Dance Evelyn
2007 Lust, Caution
色,戒
Mrs. Yee / 易太太
2008 The Leap Years Li-Ann (age 49)
2008 Shi Qi
十七
Mother / 母亲 SIFF Press Prize for Most Attractive Actress
2008 24 City
二十四城记
Gu Minhua / 顾敏华
2009 Mao's Last Dancer Niang / 娘
2010 Love in Disguise
恋爱通告
Joan
2010 Color Me Love
爱出色
Zoe
2011 1911
辛亥革命
Empress Longyu / 隆裕
2011 Kiss, His First
初吻
2012 White Frog Irene Young
2012 Passion Island
熱愛島
Johanna / 祖安娜
2012 Let It Be
稍安勿躁
Niu Jie / 牛姐
2012 Double Xposure
二次曝光
Dr. Hao / 郝医生
2014 For Love or Money
露水红颜
2015 You Are My Sunshine
何以笙箫默
2015 Lady of the Dynasty
王朝的女人·楊貴妃
Consort Wu
2015 Cairo Declaration
開羅宣言
Soong Ching-ling
2019 Eve Post-production
Television
Year Title Role Notes
1985 MacGyver Lin Episode 1.2 The Golden Triangle
1985 Miami Vice May Ying Episode 1.14 Golden Triangle
1989 Wiseguy Maxine Tzu Episode All or Nothing
1990 Twin Peaks Jocelyn 'Josie' Packard TV series — Series regular (2 seasons, 1990-1991)
1992 Strangers The Girl TV movie
1992 Shadow of a Stranger Vanessa TV movie
1992 Nightmare Cafe First customer Episode 1.1 Nightmare Cafe
1993 Tales from the Crypt Connie Episode 5.4 Food for Thought
1997 Homicide: Life on the Street Elizabeth Wu Episode 5.15 Wu's on First?
1998 The Outer Limits Major Dara Talif Episode 4.24 Phobos Rising
1999 In a Class of His Own Linda Ching TV movie
2009 Newcomers to the Middle-Aged
人到中年
Tian Wenjie / 田文洁 TV series
2010 Journey to the West
西游记
Guan Yin / 观音 TV series
2011 Fringe Reiko Episode 3.13 Immortality
2012 Hemingway & Gellhorn Madame Chiang Kai-shek HBO TV movie
2012 Sui Tang Yingxiong
隋唐英雄
Empress Dugu / 独孤后 TV series
2013 Serangoon Road Patricia Cheng TV series
2013 Meng's Palace
海上孟府
Er Jie / 二姐 TV series
2014 Marco Polo Chabi TV series
2017 Twin Peaks Josie Packard Episode: "Part 17"; archive footage
2018 Ruyi's Royal Love in the Palace Ulanara·Yixiu [27]

Director

Year English Title Chinese title Notes
1998 Xiu Xiu: The Sent Down Girl 天浴 (Tiān Yù) Golden Horse Award for Best Director
Mons International Love Film Festival Grand Prize
National Board of Review International Freedom Award
Paris Film Festival Special Jury Prize
FLIFF Jury Award for Best Drama
Nominated — Golden Bear Award
Nominated — Paris Film Festival Grand Prize
2000 Autumn in New York
2012 Shanghai Strangers 非典情人 (Fēidiǎn qíngrén) short film — post-production (also known as 爱在非典的日子)
2018? English 英格力士

Writer

Year English Title Chinese title Notes
1998 Xiu Xiu: The Sent Down Girl 天浴 (Tiān Yù) Golden Horse Award for Best Screenplay Adapted from Another Medium
2012 Shanghai Strangers 非典情人 (Fēidiǎn qíngrén) short film — post-production (also known as 爱在非典的日子)

Producer

Year English Title Chinese title Notes
1995 Wild Side Associate producer
1998 Xiu Xiu: The Sent Down Girl 天浴 (Tiān Yù) Producer, Executive producer
Nominated — Independent Spirit Award for Best First Feature Over $500,000
2012 Shanghai Strangers 非典情人 (Fēidiǎn qíngrén) short film — post-production (also known as 爱在非典的日子)

Other media

  • 2008: "Shanghai," narrator—an audio walking tour by Louis Vuitton and Soundwalk[28]

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Film Result
1980 Hundred Flowers Awards Best Actress Little Flower Won
Yugoslavia International Film Festival Best Actress[29][30] Won
1994 Asian American International Film Festival Asian Media Award [31] Won
Golden Horse Awards Best Actress Red Rose, White Rose Won
1995 Hong Kong Film Awards Best Actress Nominated
Hong Kong Film Critics Society Awards Best Actress[32][33] Won
1998 Golden Horse Awards Best Director Xiu Xiu: The Sent Down Girl Won
Best Screenplay Adapted from Another Medium Won
Berlin International Film Festival[34] Golden Berlin Bear Nominated
Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival Jury Award Won
1999 Paris Film Festival Grand Prize Nominated
Special Jury Prize Won
Mons International Love Film Festival Grand Prize Won
National Board of Review International Freedom Award[35] Won
2000 Independent Spirit Awards Best First Feature Over $500,000 Nominated
2005 San Diego Asian Film Festival[36] Lifetime Achievement Award Won
2007 Golden Horse Awards Best Actress The Home Song Stories Won
Hawaii International Film Festival Achievement in Acting Won
Asia Pacific Screen Awards Best Performance by an Actress Nominated
Inside Film Awards Best Actress Won
Torino Film Festival Best Actress Won
Australian Film Institute Awards Best Actress Won
2008 Film Critics Circle of Australia Awards Best Actress Won
Asian Film Awards Best Actress Nominated
Best Supporting Actress The Sun Also Rises Won
Shanghai International Film Festival Press Prize for Most Attractive Actress Shi Qi Won

Other recognition

  • In 1992 People magazine chose her as one of the 50 most beautiful women in the world.[citation needed]
  • Chen inspired indie rock band Xiu Xiu, named after her film Xiu Xiu: The Sent Down Girl.[citation needed]
  • Chen was chosen by Goldsea as Number 45 on its compilation of "The 120 Most Inspiring Asian Americans of All Time".[37]

[ Source: Wikipedia ]